UNM teams chosen to finish 2nd in conference

The Lobos' Men's and Women's soccer and Volleyball teams were all picked to finish second this season in preseason coaches polls conducted recently by the Mountain-Pacific Sports Federation and the Mountain West Conference.


Men's Soccer

The UNM men's soccer earned 41 points to their credit and a pair of first-place votes in the MPSF Coaches Poll released on Aug. 15.

Cal State-Bakersfield was narrowly picked to finish ahead of the Lobos in the MPSF with 45 points and five first place votes. Denver was tied with UNM in the poll with 41 points but just one first place vote.

"Our players are guys who work hard to succeed," said head coach Jeremy Fishbein recently. "They have a lot of pride and a lot of confidence. They are hungry because the expectations of this program are very high and we have the type of players who should be successful in reaching those expectations."

The Lobos return eight starters from a team that finished 9-6-5 overall in 2010 and 5-2-3 in the conference. The returns all-conference midfielders Michael Green and Lance Rozeboom on a team that bowed out in the first round of last year's NCAA College Cup tournament.

The UNM men host two exhibition this weekend – Thurs., Aug. 18 against Grand Canyon and Sat., Aug. 20 against Tulsa. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

The Lobos open the season with Towson University Fri., Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.

All matches will be played at the UNM Soccer Complex.


Women's Soccer

The UNM women come off their most successful season ever welcomed into the new season with 33 points and three first place votes in the Mountain West Conference pre-season coaches poll, good for second behind San Diego State's 34 points and four first place votes in the seven-team MWC.

"People are thinking San Diego State is the new BYU, but the rest of the teams in the conference are pretty good, too," said head coach Kit Vela. ""The only thing I can say for certain is we are going to have an exciting year and we are going to be an exciting team to watch."

The Lady Lobos earned its first-ever Mountain West regular-season championship last season by going undefeated in conference play with a 5-0-2 mark. The Lobos finished the 2010 campaign with a 12-3-5 record and made their first-ever postseason appearance with an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, losing to eventual national champs Notre Dame in the first round.

The Lobos return two of the top players in the conference – senior Jennifer Williams, the 2010 MWC Offensive Player of The Year, and junior goalkeeper Kelli Cornell, the MWC Defensive Player of The Year.

The UNM women begin the regular season this weekend with matches against nationally ranked St. Mary's (Calif.) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Cal State-Bakersfield on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches will be played at the UNM Soccer Complex.

The Gaels, who finished 2010 with a record of 7-7-4, were picked to finish seventh in the tough West Coast Conference this season while the Roadrunners, an NCAA Independent, finished 5-10-4 last season.



Coming off  its second NCAA bid in two years, the Lobo Volleyball team enters the 2011 season with a certain ration of respect from the coaches in the Mountain West Conference.

The Lobos were voted second behind defending league champion Colorado State in the MWC's preseason coaches poll.

The Rams 60 points and five first-place votes compared to 56 points and three first place votes for UNM from the teams eight coaches.

Senior blocker Allison Buck and librero Ashley Rhoades were named to the MWC preseason.

Head coach Jeff Nelson, who enters his fifth season as Lobos head coach, said the team will return nine letterwinners, including three starters from last year's team. In addition to a stellar crop of freshmen, Nelson said the team will rely heavily three senior starters – Buck, Rhoades and outside hitter Kelly Williamson to provide guidance to his 2011 squad.

"In terms of leadership," Nelson said, "we have things in place with our three seniors."

UNM starts the season with the annual MCM Elegante Lobo Classic on Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27. The Lobos face perennial NCAA contenders Nebraska on Friday at 7 p.m. and the University of San Francisco on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. at Johnson Center. In-state rivals New Mexico State are the fourth team in the tournament, though the two rivals will not play each other in the tournament.

The Cornhuskers enter 2011 ranked fifth in the nation and picked to finish second in the Big 10 Conference while USF was picked to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference.

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